.ALAC File Extension

Apple Lossless Audio Codec File

Developer Apple
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What is an ALAC file?

An ALAC file is an audio file encoded using the Apple Lossless Audio Codec (ALAC). Most likely, it contains a song meant to be played in Apple iTunes or Apple Music. More commonly, ALAC files use the .M4A extension.

More Information

Screenshot of a .alac file in Audacity
ALAC file open in Audacity

In 2004, Apple created the Apple Lossless Audio Codec. Like FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec), ALAC is used to losslessly compress audio files. However, ALAC-encoded files typically have smaller file sizes than FLAC-encoded files (created from the same audio).

Primarily, Apple music applications, such as Apple iTunes and Apple Music, use ALAC to losslessly compress and deliver audio to users. However, because ALAC is just a codec, and not an audio container format, these ALAC-encoded files are typically saved as M4A (MPEG-4 Audio) files. If a file uses the .alac extension, it is likely a misnamed M4A file.

How to open an ALAC file

You can open an ALAC file with Apple Music (Mac), Apple QuickTime Player (Mac), Microsoft Windows Media Player (Windows), or VideoLAN VLC media player (multiplatform). Before doing so, you may have to change the file's extension to .m4a, so your media player recognizes the file as an MPEG-4 Audio file.

How to convert an ALAC file

VideoLAN VLC media player and Audacity (with the program's optional FFmpeg library installed) can convert ALAC files to other audio formats. For example, VLC can convert ALAC files to:

  • .MP3 - MP3 Audio
  • .OGG - Ogg Vorbis Audio
  • .FLAC - Free Lossless Audio Codec

Remember, you may have to change your ALAC file's extension to .m4a before you can open it in VLC or Audacity.

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Programs that open ALAC files

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The FileInfo.com team has independently researched the Apple Lossless Audio Codec file format and Mac, Windows, Linux, Android, and iOS apps listed on this page. Our goal is 100% accuracy and we only publish information about file types that we have verified.

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